Bud Dupree’s Athleticism Shines Through Late

The Pittsburgh Steelers really need their two young outside linebackers to become a key part of the heart and soul of their defense. After all, they have used first-round draft picks on the pair over the course of the past three drafts. They need to be the primary pass-rushers for the unit in order for them to be at their best.

And so far, overall, they are doing a solid job. Rookie T.J. Watt has been a bit more productive than has third-year Bud Dupree, but both of been showing capably, even if they have been at times falsely accused of some errors in run support that were really on the secondary failing in crack-and-replace.

One would hope that we are seeing them start to heat up as we approach the midway point of the season. The two of them yesterday combined for nine tackles and a pair of sacks, each of them with a quarterback takedown, though Dupree nearly had two.

The 2015 first-rounder landed some impact plays for the defense in key moments. When the offense failed to get into the end zone toward the end of the first half, he assisted on a tackle for loss on second down that helped the Steelers get the ball back before halftime and add another field goal.

In the second half, relatively early in the fourth quarter just after the offense failed to move the ball past its own 13-yard line, going three and out in the process, the Bengals after a punt starting their next drive on Pittsburgh’s side of the field at the 45-yard line.

But on first down, he was able to get into the backfield, pressuring quarterback Andy Dalton, and while he did not get the sack himself, he helped to set up the rest of the defense to make a play, with the recipient of the eventual sack being Tyson Alualu, which was his first as a Steeler.

That sack went for a loss of 11 yards, and two plays later, Dupree finally got his, looking like he was shot out of a cannon as he hunted Dalton down behind the line of scrimmage. He pounced on the Bengals quarterback and pulled him down for a big loss of 13 yards.

That drive did not simply stifle the Bengals’ offense as they were looking to get something going with great starting field position—it also helped to flip the field. Cincinnati lost an astounding 21 yards on that three-play drive, and Pittsburgh was able to take over with breathing room at their own 23.

Dupree and Watt have combined for 12 games played so far this year, and they have put up seven sacks between them. It could be better, but it is not bad. And others have been producing as well. As of this writing, the Steelers are tied for second with 24 sacks, behind only the Jaguars on a record pace with 33 sacks.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Chris92021

    That delayed stunt twist through the B gap might be something we can use more often to get Dupree chances to make plays. He still runs the arc poorly (which is part of the reason why he couldn’t finish Dalton on the sack that Alualu got) but man, he is a freight train coming up the interior. Hopefully Dupree will build on this and learn to play with controlled speed.

  • redneckprof

    He was looking like Jarvis Jones for most of the game. He runs the arc terribly. All his pressures came from twists and inside. I was keying on him most of the game, just runs upfield and out of play. Chickallo shows much better repertoire of moves. Why is Deebo on bench when Dupre makes so little impact. Watt practiced at both sides in training camp. Unleash Harrison!

  • Dan

    The coaches are just making poor personel and play-calling decisions to snooker the rest of the league into not taking us seriously. And just wait until you see the super shrewd clock management come playoffs. All the drama in the media…part of the act too. Tomlin are crew are actually manipulative geniuses.

  • redneckprof

    Wow, hadn’t considered that. I’m relieved now. So, Joey Porter as a coach is just a smokescreen to get the rest of the league overconfident? Three dimensional chess; well played Tomlin!

  • Applebite

    Can’t tell this crowd that the Steelers are 2nd behind the Jags in sacks. Especially when some consider Dupree as a waste of time, money, and space. I mean, if you were to take their word for it, the Steelers should have 54 sacks so far, that Dupree is just a slacker, or the 2nd coming of Huey Richardson.

  • pcantidote

    When he got that sack I thought finally there is the great athlete we heard about in the draft.

  • nutty32

    Gonna go counter-opinion and opine that Bud might be better off putting weight back on back to his college 270ish range. His finesse, speed game is not taking him over the top. Maybe he can try going to being a full time power, bully type, especially v. the run game. Gives his cut back moves more of a change up effect. Same with Jesse James; maybe try to get close to Villy size to help his run blocking. It’s clear JJ is never going to be Kellen Winslow, even when skinny.

  • popsiclesticks

    Chickillo has a repertoire of uneffective moves. I’d rather have Dupree running up the arc than Chickillo.

  • MC

    Was great to see him notch a sack and a big pressure leading to a sack but man he runs up the arc way too much! are the coaches calling him out on this? Im still yet to see him beat a tackle with a power or inside move for a sack and that is worrying. He needs to stop running upfield and plant and drive through a tackle, its like he is shy of engaging with the lineman.THere is a video of James Harrison explaining how to do this in a youtube vide from like 7 years ago.

  • Conserv_58

    LOL! Dupree resembled a tiger attacking his prey when he pounced on Dalton.

  • charles

    Dupree’s hit on Matt Moore last year was on Dalton’s mind. When you can get opposing qb to have to find a defensive player, then you have won one battle in the war. D looked more aggressive than I have seen in the last decade. Is the Butler finally turning a corner?